Federal court rules FERC must consider greenhouse gas emissions from pipelines

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated a 2016 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval of three natural gas pipeline segments in the Southeast. Similar to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the vast majority of the gas transported via the Southeast Market Pipeline Project, which runs through Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, would be burned in gas-fired power plants. The decision stated that “at a minimum, FERC should have estimated the amount of power-plant carbon emissions the pipelines will make possible.”

FERC will now be required to undertake a new environmental impact statement for the Southeast Market Pipeline Project. SELC calls on FERC to do the same for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project.

“This decision further highlights the fact that FERC must go back and revise its environmental review of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline before issuing a permit for this heavily opposed project,” said Senior Attorney Greg Buppert. “This ruling now makes it clear that FERC cannot simply state that it’s unable to know the level of greenhouse gas emissions of the ACP, or any other pipeline, and simply move on. This is one more example of the rubber stamp process we are seeing with pipelines, when we need a much more thorough and fair review of a decision that set a course for decades.”